Is Free Tech Support a Thing of the Past?

Tenant File Tech SupportWe hear from our customers how they have been disappointed in many of the web-based products and the lack of support they provide. Many of them migrate back to the Tenant File after trying something else. Call it old fashioned, but we still favor the safety and security of a desktop based program, and the convenience of good customer technical support.

At Tenant File, we hope that free tech support is not a thing of the past. We have been one of the few software companies that have managed to keep it free. Our industry leading web support has always been free for all customers, even if you did not purchase the previous update. We have a dedicated team of knowledgeable support technicians which monitor incoming ‘tickets’ (web requests) throughout each work day. Each technician has a massive computerized knowledge base to draw from, and each ticket is answered personally. We answer all tickets by the end of the day with few exceptions. (Sometimes we get calls that a ticket wasn’t responded to, and nearly always it can be found in the customer’s junk or spam box, so be sure to mark ‘support@tenantfile.com’ as a ‘safe sender’).

But the Tenant File support goes way beyond that … our first-time customers get a full two months of phone support, and even current customers enjoy a month of phone support in case they have any questions about the update. Phone support is limited to ½ a day (hours 10:00am to 2:00pm CST) and limited to 10 minutes per call, since we are supporting over 5,000 customers and sometimes it gets really busy. We don’t ‘sub’ out our support to foreign countries, so you’ll always get a knowledgeable Tenant File expert. And if the lines happen to be busy when you call during phone support hours, just leave a message and we will call you back as soon as a support person gets available.

Even after the free phone support period has expired, Tenant File still offers paid support in 15 or 30 minute segments. The pricing is very reasonable, and the 30 minute segment can include the ability for the Tenant File technician to connect remotely to the user’s computer to see or actually operate the program. This paid service can also be used if the customer wants us to install the program, move the Tenant File program to another computer, or even close out the year for them. This will save quite a bit over hiring an outside computer technician to come and do the work in person.

Tenant File Phone Support

In addition to the web and phone support, Tenant File includes a full User’s Guide in the ‘Help’ menu of each Tenant File installation, as well as a ‘Quick Start’ guide. The User’s Guide is comprehensive and searchable, so just about any question can be answered with a quick search (user Ctrl-F).  The guide includes screen shots, illustrations, samples, and step-by-step instructions on most tasks.

Also, at the Tenant File website, you can find helpful videos that take you through the entire program. We are busy adding new ones, and take recommendations from our customers. You can also find videos on YouTube if you search for ‘Tenant File’.

Our customers are very important to us, and we try very hard to impress with our service. Tenant File is one of the few property management software programs that charge a one-time fee for the software, eliminating the never-ending monthly payments that can hook the customer into an ever increasing financial nightmare. Then, when the Internet is down and you are left at a standstill, you have no recourse (other than moving to the Tenant File!).

To our current Tenant File customers, thank you and please know that we are always trying to help you become successful and run your business the most efficient way possible. We really appreciate your business!

The Tenant File Support Staff

tenant file

Rental Maintenance Tips for Landlords

TenantFile.com Roof MaintenanceJust like buying a new car, you are excited at the possibilities and rewards that you will get with ownership.  Unfortunately, just like a new car, someday you’ll have to pay for maintenance and upkeep – it is simply a part of managing property, but there are many things you can do to prepare. Try these rental maintenance ideas and you’ll find it much easier.

Start your maintenance fund now.  A  good start would be to save enough money for major roof repairs. Hopefully, you won’t need it for that, but you’ll need it for other repairs anyway.  You might need to replace a major appliance or have trees that need to be removed for safety purposes.

You should do a monthly inspection of your rental property. Go through the entire house inside and outside and take detailed notes of damage that you need to repair, or damage that the tenant might be responsible for.

Remember that anything you do to improve the property will help the resale value later, so don’t put off repairs.  They’ll get more expensive later on, and you might avert a major catastrophe.

The repairs and maintenance costs for your rental property are tax deductible, so be sure to keep good records. If you have major expenses, you might be able to depreciate those costs over several years. We suggest that you have a software program that can log your work orders, expenses, and then export to your accountant at the end of the year.

Your relationship with your tenant is very important in maintaining your property. Tenants are often willing to help with maintenance or repairs to keep their home looking nice and maybe save some on the rent, so work with them on providing materials in exchange for repairs.

Lastly, don’t think you can do it all by yourself. Use an expert to evaluate the property, looking for slab cracks, termites, bad wiring and other potentially disastrous problems. If you are good with tools you can realize substantial savings, but if you need training, you can take advantage of free clinics at the local Home Depot or Lowe’s. In these job specific lessons, you can learn to repair door frames, install a new toilet and replace the flooring in the kitchen.

We hope you have a property that requires little maintenance and few repairs, but that is probably pie in the sky.  However, if you do your prepare ahead of time,  you’ll save money and have a sense of pride and accomplishment in your rental property.

Comparing 30-Year and 15-Year Mortgages

TenantFile.com House Image
You have found the perfect house and now it is time to obtain financing. There are many choices when it comes to financing so it is always wise to understand the pros and cons of a 30-year mortgage versus a 15-year mortgage.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a 30-Year Mortgage

A 30-year mortgage allows the mortgagor to keep their payments low. A borrower’s financial situation can change at any time. Keeping payments low will make it easier for the borrower to afford their mortgage payment even if their financial situation changes.

Another advantage to a 30-year mortgage is the ability to save money. Because the payments are low, borrowers can pay off other debts, make home improvements and put money in savings for unexpected expenditures.

The main disadvantage of a 30-year loan is that the borrower will pay more interest over the lifetime of a loan. When the payment is calculated, it will include interest that is paid monthly. This monthly interest will add up over the lifetime of a loan, costing the borrower more money over the life of the loan.

Another disadvantage of to a 30-year loan is a higher interest rate. Generally, the longer the term of the mortgage, the higher the APR. This means that the borrower will end up paying more in interest each month.

Finally, 30-year loans may not be the optimum choice for those who have children who will be starting college over the life of the loan or for people who plan to retire before the loan will be paid off.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a 15-Year Mortgage

The main advantage of a 15-year loan is the borrower can pay off the mortgage in half the time of a traditional 30-year mortgage. This is especially advantageous to borrowers who will be retiring soon or those with children who will be attending college soon.

The borrower will pay thousands of dollars less on a 15-year loan. In some instances, this can mean tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the lifetime of the loan when compared to a 30-year loan.

The interest rate is generally lower on a shorter term loan. For example, the current interest rate, as of 2016 (http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/current-interest-rates.aspx), on a 15-year fixed rate is 2.89 percent while the interest rate on a 30-year mortgage is 3.63 percent. That is almost three-quarters of a percent lower, which can save a lot of money over the lifetime of a loan.

One of the disadvantages of a 15-year mortgage is a higher monthly payment. This can be an issue if the mortgagor’s financial situation changes. If the mortgagor loses his/her job, it can be more difficult to pay the mortgage payments.

Finally, because the amount of the mortgage is calculated on the borrower’s debt to income ratio, the amount of the loan that he or she qualifies for may be reduced. This can affect the quality of a home that the person will qualify for.

There are many things to consider when choosing between a 15-year mortgage and a 30-year mortgage. Many people think that the amount of the payments on a 15-year loan will be twice the amount of a 30-year loan. This is not true. If a borrower took out a 30-year mortgage for $200,000 with an interest rate of 4 percent, the payment would be $954.83. The payment amount on a 15-year mortgage with the same interest rate would be $1,479.38.

When deciding which mortgage is best, borrowers should consider their current financial situation as well as their long-term financial goals. Borrowers who prefer to minimize their payment and maximize their loan amount should opt for a 30-year mortgage. Those who wish to pay their mortgage off quickly and save on interest should opt for a 15-year mortgage.


Jeremy Johnson is a real estate enthusiast and has written content for dozens of real estate and related sites around the world. RealEstateCompanies.info is a side project he maintains because of his interest in real estate.

Tenant File Welcomes New Marketing VP

PRESS RELEASE: Tenant File Property Management Software Welcomes New Marketing VP

W G Software, Inc. the creators of Tenant File Property Management Software, have just announced that student Matthew Zuniga will now be a part of the company, as a Marketing VP, effective immediately.

Matthew Zungia - Tenant File Marketing VPW G Software, Inc. provides an outstanding property management software for owners and managers of rental property, and has been doing so for over 15 years. The software allows users to easily keep track of all the different aspects involved with property management. Currently, the software has several thousands of landlords, property owners, and property management using the software every single day. Wayne Gathright, president, says “I am very excited to have Matthew on our team, and I look forward to seeing what he can bring to the company. I met with Matthew and I knew right away that he was the person that I wanted to work with.  I believe that he has the necessary skills and motivation to expand the reach of the Tenant File software for rental property.”

Matthew is a currently senior at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, and is majoring in Computer Science with a Minor in Mathematics. When he is not working or focusing on his studies, Matthew enjoys listening to music, playing video games, exercising, reading, and posting on social media. When asked about the position, Matthew says “I have a love of social media, and I am very interested in Internet Marketing as well. I feel like when you mix those two aspects with my strong computer background, I believe that I can make a positive impact on the Tenant File organization. I look forward to working with Wayne and the rest of the company and learning as much as I possibly can about Internet Marketing in the process.”


Tenant File is the industry leader of on-premise desktop property management software for small to medium size businesses. Additionally, the Tenant File has produced integrated add-on products for 1099 MISC Tax software, Work Orders, RentalWIZ for posting vacancies to the Internet and other applications. For more information about Tenant File, visit http://www.TenantFile.com, or follow @TenantFile on Twitter.

Tenant File Logo

Web-based or On-premise Desktop Based?

Tenant File logoWe used to get asked why the Tenant File is not in the cloud … it seems there are hundreds of property management software programs doing that, so web-based must the the next great new thing, right? No. Well, now we get lots of calls from property managers that are sick and tired of the ever escalating and unending monthly fees, downtime, and the high security risks.  So I wanted to address how the Tenant File is doing . . .

Happy GirlYes, the Tenant File DESKTOP Property Management Software is still going strong.  Our user-base is growing every day. If you have tried moving to web-based software thinking that it will make your property management run smoother and are now tired of paying a monthly fee PER UNIT for some company on the ‘cloud’ to hold your important information and you now want to get back in control of managing  your rentals, come back to the Tenant File.  Throughout the years, we have made many important upgrades and additions to the Tenant File.   To name a few:

The Tenant File Version 8 now includes up to ten Bank Accounts up from the original 3 Bank Accounts

  • Additional posting fields were added to the POST RENT INCOME section, the screen that  allows you to quickly post rent income from a large number of tenants very quickly, or just to post a few rents as needed.    Additionally, this screen enables you to create a bank deposits for the rent posted, post management fees, post late fees received, and add another payment for any income account in the chart of accounts. You can even write a check to your own company for management fees posted.
  • The Tenant File now allows you to have up to 6 different RECURRING FIELDS for charges that are in addition to the typical rent posting, management fee posting, and late fee charges. The recurring field amounts are kept in the Unit Information for every rental unit.
  • Additional Reports were added to Version 8, such as the Ledger Balances Current (Compact), Owner Audit Report, Owner Profit and Loss Report, Owner Invoices , Late Rent/Late Fees Due , Security Deposits Receipts Posted, Tenant Balances Aging Report , Tenant Rent Payment Summary , Register – All Bank Accounts , Property MTD/YTD Summary, Company Profit and Loss Report, Tenant Balances (Range) , Owner Vacancy Listing , Tenant Delinquency By Owner – just to name a few.
  • The new Security Deposit Disposition Screen allows you to easily take care of the deposit postings when your tenant moves out.
  • The Owner Invoice allows you to take any posting (or multiple postings) in the ledgers and create an invoice for those transactions. This is actually a report, so it is accessed from the Reports screen.
  • The Tenant File now supports any number of Automatic Rent Increases, for any rental unit, and for any date in the future. On the screen below, you simply select the rental unit, enter the amount and date of the increase, and the program will do the rest.
  • Automated Late Fee Postings were added with release of the Tenant File 8. It allows you to set the late fee individually for each tenant separately in the Tenant Ledger under ‘Setup/View Fees’. So, if you charge late fees differently for different tenants, you charge DAILY LATE FEES and you want them to be automated, or if you simply want a hands off’ method for late fee posting, this method is for you.
  • Upload Vacancies to the Web – Version 8 entitles you to a no obligation ONE YEAR subscription to RentalWIZ, which provides you a free web page branded for your company, uploads to other Internet rental sites, and more!

Property Manager HandshakeIf you have an older version of the Tenant File and are ready to get back to running your property management business in your own office, you can order the Tenant File update and STOP paying monthly fees for your own software.  If you have never had the opportunity to try the Tenant File DESKTOP Property Management software but have been looking for a reliable desktop software program that has been on the market for over twenty years with thousands of happy customers, click into www.TenantFile.com to review our program.   The Update purchase includes a month of free phone support to assist you with familiarizing yourself with the software while new purchases include two months of phone support.  Plus, users have the ability to use the WEB SUPPORT Ticket System that will continually provide answers to all individual questions at no additional charge.  We know that you will be happy with how smoothly and simply the program will take care of all of your property management needs – right from your own computer.

How to Avoid Scammers

Angry Property ManagerMost warnings and media stories about scams on rental listing sites such as Craigslist focus on helping renters avoid scams, but landlords and property managers are often targeted as well. Here are some of the most common ways in which property managers and landlords find themselves getting scammed — and how they can prevent it. Learning how to avoid scammers is critical to your success.

Three Types of Scams:

Smoke-and-Mirrors Scams

Scammers steal pictures and property listing descriptions from authentic rental listings, and post them elsewhere online to lure renters. The alternative postings include suspiciously low pricing and contain fake email addresses or 800-numbers, which the scammer uses to draw renters in. For the landlord, their legitimate listing is passed over by tenants clicking on the lower price option, and can create suspicions that the legitimate listing is a scam as well.<

Lawsuit Scams

These scams involve real tenants actually signing a lease agreement and moving in – only to invent an excuse for a lawsuit. This could be failure to provide lead paint documentation or really anything that sounds scary and serious. Even if the tenants eventually lose the lawsuit, they can still often live for free while the landlord deals with the suit. Court may put a stay on any eviction proceedings until the lawsuit is decided.

False Check Refunds

Impostors often will pose as renters who agree to pay a security deposit and rent without viewing the property. Then the impostors send fraudulent cashier’s checks in excess of the stated amounts and request that landlords return the overages. After sending a “partial refund,” landlords learn the up-front payments were counterfeit.

How to avoid scammers – here are some ways in which landlords and property managers can guard against these scams:

Limit Information

Publish limited information on the internet regarding yourself and your properties. Post the intersection instead of the full street address. Serious prospects will call, giving you the opportunity to conduct a phone screening prior to divulging sensitive information.

Use An Alternate Phone Number

Never use your cell or home phone in your rental ads. Consider free options such as Google Voice to receive calls on your cell phone without giving away your true phone number.

Conduct A Background Check via Telephone

Always conduct a preliminary background check via telephone prior to showing the property. Scammers will be uncomfortable answering many questions. When doing a more complete screening after showing the property to an interested tenant, be sure to verify their employment, income, credit history, criminal background, and court history. If they have ever sued a landlord, keep searching.

Watermark Your Photos

Watermarking your pictures is one way to prevent picture theft. There are a number of watermark software programs and some free online versions. Do some research to choose the appropriate one for you.

Now that you know some ways to avoid getting scammed, also check out our post on protecting your computer from a cyber attack: http://tfblog.tenantfile.com/2015/10/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-property-manager-post-cyber-attack/

Check out this Great New eBook for Landlords

Tenants.com Landlord eBookTenants.com has been making big inroads in the Internet buzz world. They have been consulted by Realtor.com and Trulia.com for opinions and articles that affect tenants. They also have valuable information for landlords. Now, they have just released a new eBook for landlords called “What ALL Landlords REALLY Need to KNOW“.

This 30 page eBook is full of helpful information for landlords, property managers and owners of rental property. We liked it so much that we have provided a link so that we can share it with the Tenant File social media followers.

To get the eBook, just click on this link.

When we come across helpful information for property managers, we want to share it, and hope you will do the same.

Happy Landlording!

 

 

Does Your Lease Cover Enough? Check out these ideas!

What Extra Clauses should you add to Your Lease Agreement?

mediatorMany times a basic lease agreement is not enough. There are many other important clauses that many landlords tend to neglect, yet in a dispute they may become very important. Below are some examples of clauses that can be added to your lease agreement.

  • Parking restrictions – how many vehicles (cars, boats, motorcycles, etc) can be parked at the residence?
  • Business use – can the tenants run a business? What kind? Is signage allowed?
  • Garage sales or auctions? Are you going to permit these? How often?
  • Change in status (any changes in the lease application, such as employment)
  • Subletting – is it allowed? How many residents? What notification?
  • Co-signer or guarantor – should you add another responsible party as a guarantor?
  • Partial payment – how is it handled and does it stop any legal proceedings?
  • Returned check fees – how are you going to handle returned checks? What fees?
  • Bankruptcy – what are you legal rights if your tenant files for bankruptcy?
  • Lease violations – what are your rights? What are the tenant’s rights? What jurisdiction?
  • Absence of tenant – what is the tenant disappears? Can you get into the rental?
  • Furniture lien – can the tenant possessions be taken? After what time period?
  • Increase late fees – can you charge additional late fees if the tenant is often late?
  • Judgment collection – who is responsible for the court costs and legal fees?
  • Utility bills – which one of you pays the deposit? What if the tenant defaults?
  • Emergency repair – what if you have to cut off the water for repairs?
  • Problem neighbors – how do you handle complaints?
  • Disasters – what if you can’t fulfill your landlord obligations because of a disaster?
  • Illegal activity – make sure you can take action against drug use, explosives, firearms, etc.
  • Quiet enjoyment – insure that the tenant music or noises do not intrude on other people’s rights
  • Smoking – make sure your rules are clear. Specify restrictions on illegal drugs.
  • Pets – how many pets? What additional deposit? What about additional cleaning costs?
  • Yard upkeep – Make sure your property looks neat and is safe. Protect any large trees.
  • Health and safety codes – Be sure your tenant doesn’t not violate these, and what your recourse may be.

There are other clauses that you may need to add. Just reflect upon any possibly situations that might arise with your particular rental property. With the right additions to your lease, it will help protect your legal rights and avoid future legal complications.

Article author:

Paul Toller works for W G Software, Inc. developers of the Tenant File Property Management Software. He has over 20 years experience in consulting and software development for real estate.

How Crowdfunding Has Permanently Changed Commercial Real Estate

Collect $1,100 in Monthly Rent From RioCan Real Estate Investment TrustBehind stocks, bonds and cash, commercial real estate has emerged as the fourth largest asset class in the U.S. over the last few decades. Among institutional investors, investments in commercial properties represent nearly 10% of their holdings.

When you look at the typical individual investor’s portfolio, however, there’s often a big hole where commercial real estate is concerned. In fact, for many investors, this particular asset class is a relative unknown. Previously, stiff barriers to entry meant that direct commercial real estate investments were only available to a select group. Fortunately, real estate crowdfunding is making it possible for a broader base of investors to gain access to this valuable segment of the real estate market.

Commercial Real Estate Explained

In the simplest sense, commercial real estate is any property that’s designed to produce income. That covers everything from apartment complexes and office buildings to shopping malls and industrial complexes. Commercial properties generate income in the form of rent paid by tenants and/or appreciation when the property is sold. Investors realize returns based on the property’s income, less any operating, financing and maintenance costs.

Where Does Crowdfunding Come In?

Historically, commercial real estate investments were the exclusive domain of private investors who had the right connections and could afford a five- or six-figure minimum buy-in. Some of the largest institutional investors in the world (including the Harvard and Yale Endowments) have sizable portions of their portfolio allocated to real estate and this has been a major factor in their superior investment performance. Unfortunately, individual investors have historically been excluded from this potentially profitable asset class.

Common Sense Property Management Software

Property Manager WorkingCommon Sense Property Management Software

I hear all the time the comment, “I thought my previous software was going to make my life easier, but it just gave me more frustration”. Property management is hard enough by itself without having to struggle with slow software, missing data, constant questions, and a difficult learning curve. We hear from rental property owners every day that are still using spreadsheets to manage their property, or they have purchased a program that is way more than they actually need.

Make sure it works the same way you do

First, if you can’t try out the software before you buy it, run the other way! That is the only way you can be sure it is right for you. When you do try the software, start with one task, such as “I want to charge rent to my tenants”. Then, see how long that task takes. If it is more than 10 seconds, it is too long, even if you have hundreds of rentals. Better yet, look for an option to charge rent automatically without user intervention.

How about this? “I want to update the tenant’s rent amount, and then correct an amount that I accidentally posted to the tenant’s accounting”. Many programs make you navigate to multiple menus to do seemingly easy common sense tasks, so make sure it is easy to correct mistakes.

Other things you might want to look for would be the ability to automatically increase rents on a specific date in the future, the ability to either print checks or transfer via ACH, receive rent online, a way to make automatic payments, and a vendor file that keeps important information on all of the vendors that you work with.

Common sense extras that you might look for would be a reminder system for Owners, Tenants, and Vendors, and a scheduler to help keep track of upcoming repairs, vacations, and notices. You might want to use the reminder to keep track of tenant birthdays so that you can maintain a good relationship with your tenants.

Keep your valuable data with someone you trust – you!

If you keep your own information, it will be safer. Find a program that allows you to make a local backup of your valuable data quickly and easily. It should be as simple as clicking a ‘backup’ button then pressing ‘go’. If not, maybe that software is not for you. Some users prefer web based software, so if that is you, be sure that you can download your important data, and that your valuable information is encrypted and stored on servers with redundant backups. Even then, you could be at risk of a hacker attack that could shut down the servers, so you might consider on-premise software if that is a concern.

Don’t get more or less than you actually need

Another common complaint I often hear is that the customer had previously paid ‘thousands of dollars’ for another complex software, yet they only manage a few rentals. Or, on the other side, they manage over 100 rentals and the software they have is just too limited. Ask the vendor their average number of rentals per user, and the market they strive for. Do they work with owners of rental property or mostly with property managers? You need powerful features in your software without paying too much. At the same time, avoid ending up with overly complicated requirements with features you don’t need.

Common sense assistance

With any new software you need a little help. Avoid companies that don’t provide a phone number or any free support – eventually you will need some assistance. The trend is to not provide phone support, which may mean that you will have to either search a knowledge base for an answer, or wait for a return response to your online support request. Make sure that you can get immediate help through paid phone support.

Follow these common sense guidelines, and your property management software investment will help your business run a lot more efficiently, smoothly, and stress free.

Thank you for joining the Tenant File Property Management Software blog!